Race Schedule

2018 Races…TBD!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Where Did THAT Come From?

Last night I proclaimed that I wanted to do 8 miles in the morning. 

After which, I went about setting out my running clothes, drinking plenty of water, and laying in bed pretending like I might fall asleep before 10:00.  I had decided that I wanted to get my early week longer run done in the a.m. so that I could use the evening to work on school stuff.  I knew this meant earlier to rise, but, really, lets not push it. 

The alarm went off as usual at just after 5:00 and since I had only been pretending like I might fall asleep before 10:00 (I didn't actually get around to it until closer to 11:00) I woke up not wanting to wake up and reallllly wanting to sleep another three hours.  Alas, it could not be.  So we reluctantly thrust ourselves into the cold air of the apartment (um, brrrr, what month are we in again?!) and got to it.  Miraculously, we headed out the door by 6:45 (usually it's more like five or 10 after 7:00 before the run starts).  Geof said he didn't think there was any way we were going to get in 8 miles in an hour since we wanted to be back before 8:00, "even if we run sub-9s the whole time."  I just got quiet and immediately went into formulating plan B (do I do another run tonight? should we just scrap this? why do I care again?).  I was also grumpy now that I believed the run was going to be cut short.  Oh well.  I decided 6 miles would be fine. 

Oh yee of little faith, what has come over you?

We set out heading north.  I knew Fullerton was going to be the 5k-ish turn around, and when we reached the water fountain there I checked my watch and saw that it had only been 25 minutes...wow, that's fast for an early a.m. run for me.  Now, anything beyond this point was going to be bonus time for me.  So we kept at it, Geof just in front of me, and I hanging behind using his footstrike as a sort of hypnosis.  Before I knew it, we got to Belmont Harbour and he signaled to turn around so I followed.  This run wasn't easy.  I was working, hard.  I was in a zone with this Train song, "Hey Soul Sister", playing on repeat in my head (it's such a good song!), and imagining I was actually fast :)  This was certainly not a conversation pace for me so I was quiet and Geof continued pushing forward, me following.  I was feeling better and better, and noted to myself that I consistently speed up after a few miles.  Cool.  Just before the North Ave. boathouse, a cyclist had pulled to the side, clapping and cheering us on.  Smiling as we past him, he yelled, "you don't recognize me, do you!"  We turned to look at him again, it was Brendan, our super-star PT!  We didn't recognize him in his cycling get-up :)  It's always fun to run into peeps on the path!

Once we started up again and rounded the corner by the chess boards, I suddenly had the sensation of no control.  I mentioned this to Geof, saying that it felt like my legs had a mind of their own.  I surged forward, Geof following in suit.  Wowza!  I kept my eyes down, watching the ground under me, noting that it felt really fast watching the yellow dashes fly by as I moved with such ease.  My heart rate seemed to lower and my breathing felt almost entirely unlabored for that 1/2 mile or so.  As soon as I looked up though, I lost focus and eased back into our previous pace.  I love when that happens :)

Crossing the street to the apartment, we stopped our watches and I noticed it had been just a few minutes over an hour.  Perfect, home just in time!  I asked Geof if we had at least gotten in 6.5 miles and he laughed a little and said we had actually gotten in our 8 miles...!  "Where did THAT come from?!"  I dunno.  It just felt good.  He continued to shake his head, smiling, wondering out loud how we managed it.  Hmmm, I guess that is pretty darn good for an hour's run :)  Not only did we pull off sub-9s, but sub-8:15s...I haven't done that in a few years.

I immediately set about stretching, elevating my legs briefly and then putting on my compression sleeves.  I really, really don't want to be paying for this one later in the day!  Ice and some ibuprofen as preemptive strikes were also included once I got to work.  Other than a sore butt from all the new lunging and plyometric exercises Brendan gave me to work on, I feel like gold...no, make that platinum :) 

Yow!!  I love having good reminder runs...a reminder that I actually do have it in me to move faster.  It's so easy to relax into ultra mode and just shuffle along.  I had forgotten that I used to have some speed in my legs, and that it does feel good.  Picking up the pace allows your body to move more efficiently and to let it work out the kinks better.  I'm hoping this is a sign of things to come, and that my diligence and adherence to my recovery and maintenance actually does have some benefits :)  Tomorrow I'll take it a little easier though, just 'cuz.

Thanks for pushing it out there, G :)

Crash, out.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Dream A Little Dream

Today was my office's "Staff Appreciation Day" and so all the non-lawyer staff gathered in the main conference room for some kickass lunch and an hour-and-a-half long gabfest (a la TMZ).  While in the midst of listening to about 17 different conversations about the exact same thing, I found myself wandering off and day dreaming about going for a run.  Not uncommon at all...

Rounding a nearly-blind corner alongside a mountain ledge, the scree rolling under my feet and I negotiate the iffy terrain...To my left, a steep drop off and a vast expanse that goes as far as the eye can see, a wide river flowing through the canyon below, tree tops reaching for the stars and mountain peaks standing proud and keeping watch over the runners below...Coming upon a wildflower field, it's like the poppy field in Wizard of Oz, I follow the markings and fly over the trail as effortlessly as the wind...pushing, pushing, breathing heavy, pumping arms, moving up the switchbacks...legs tired from an entire day of running, but I can smell the barn and I keep pushing down the other side of the mountain...fried quads, downhill running not my forte...spilling out onto a forest service road, I know I'm almost there and suddenly I'm flying again, it feels so good!...and then, as if by magic, the finishline appears and I am crossing it, arms in the air...absolutely smashing the course record!!!

Okay, now you really know I was dreaming :)

I'm really looking forward to an evening run with Geof after work.  Yesterday morning's run was so awesome that it's got me even more excited to get out there again.  Oh, did I mention I ran over the weekend?  Yep, got in a little over 11 miles up in the Kettle Moraine during the Ice Age Trail training run that the Badgerland Striders were hosting in prep for the Ice Age 50 in a few weeks.  Brian, Geof and Ed K. did a little over 26 miles and I stuck with a loop and some change on the Nordic Trail (start/finish of the Kettle Moraine 100 and Ice Age 50 races), then hung out in the parking lot until the guys were done.  It felt good to get some hills and soft trail under my feet again, and it felt even better to run pain free again.  It was also fun to run a few miles with Ben and Sarah, fellow CHUGs, and talk about Leadville (Ben ran it last year and finished in a blazing fast time; I can't recall the exact time but it was in the 24 or 25 hour time frame). 

This weekend holds another weekend of Kettle Moraine running and some camping.  Hopefully, the weather holds and we don't have to worry with any rain or crappy stuff.  Kinda makes it difficult to make a bonfire, but have no fear, the beer will be safe :)

Crash, out.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Double Digit Dance

I broke double digits for the first time in TWO months. 

I threw a double digit party and did a double digit dance on the trail when I finished. 

I certainly didn't intend on achieving this mightiest of goals; it just sort of happened.  As I said before, when in Palos!  Geof and I set out for Palos' Little Red Schoolhouse trails and singletrack again on Saturday.  Geof was looking for a 20 miler and I was looking for 5 running miles, and 3-4 hiking miles after that.  I just wanted to soak in the warm weather and sunshine we were gifted with that day.  But then something happened, things just...worked.  My legs said, "help me, help you."  So I did!  Maybe it was the LaSportiva Wildcats I was wearing, or maybe it was the Shot Bloks I ate.  Most likely it was the two months of almost zero running and tons of PT work, swimming and biking that did it :)  Bam.

Along the way, we ran into fellow CHUGette, Torey and her pup Charlie, out for a run on the black trail.  Great seeing you Ms. Jones!!  I was feeling swell enough to continue on after 5 miles, so I hung with Geof and we closed out the yellow and black trails before Geof turned to go do more loops and I headed back towards the car.  Before finishing up, though, I turned onto the White Oak Trail to round out the 10 miles.  Gotta make it legit.

Things were happy.  Calves, knees, popliteous, feet, ankles.  Thanks for hanging in there legs, I really do appreciate it :)

I made sure to stretch and massage while I waited for Geof to get back.  I also soaked in the sun while doing some high quality people watching.  "Woodpeckers peck wood!" exclaimed a little boy examining the trunk of a tree.  He had on a fisherman hat and cowboy boots on the wrong feet.  He then took off after another little boy, dressed identically, and they chased each other in circles.  It's neat to observe a kid running; they have excellent mechanics before they grow up and we tell them how to "fix" it.  People were out en masse that day; it was just so gorgeous out!

Monday morning, I headed out for a run and was pleasantly surprised by how good it felt.  I stopped myself at 4 miles, not wanting to press my luck, and was very happy with that.  I have now officially run more in the first 12 days of April than I did in the 31 days of March :)

I'm starting to get a little bit excited about Leadville.  Now that we have our accomodations set and crew/pacers lined up, it's going to start becoming very real, very soon.  Heck, come May, I might even start training for it :) 

But, first, I'm going to relish the little victories I achieve along the way, like pain free running and morning 4-milers.

Crash, out.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Friday Four

Guess who had a pain free run today...


I felt like doing that when I was done :)

It's true, I had a delicious run this morning.  We awoke to chilly temps, so I dusted off the fleece lined tights and a jacket and ducked out for my run/walk.  Turns out, it felt so lovely that I kept forgetting to throw in walk breaks.  But I still managed a few between lamp posts.  Otherwise, it was a smooth and near-effortless 4 miles for this lady! 

That's what I needed.  I needed to feel wind on my cheeks, my feet hitting the ground, my jacket twisting side-to-side with the torque of my torso, my eyes squinting in the sun, my ponytail swishing, my heartrate elevated.  I imagined I was Natascha Badmann gliding along the road in Kona :)  (Yes, guilty, Geof and I have been watching previous IM Hawaiis on the Universal Sports channel the last couple of evenings...that's some serious drama!  Don't hold it against me :))

It's Friday!!  Welcome weekend!

Crash, out.

Monday, April 5, 2010

If A Tree Falls In the Forest...

...and Geof and I are around, it does make a sound!!  The mystery has been solved! :)

The trails were finally turning green!  Spring is in the air!

We headed out to Palos Hills on Sunday so that Geof could get in his long run and I could hike while he did so.  It was an almost picture perfect day for it, too.  We decided to park at the Little Red School House and play on some different trails for a change (this is part of the northern section of the Preserve).  I was going to stick to the yellow loop (the map doesn't show the full loop for some reason, but rather only 5.2 miles of it...it's actually 8.3 miles all the way around), with a quick jaunt on the 1.4 mile black loop for some singletrack. 

The sun was out in force at first, then it played hide-n-seek for the rest of the time, finally succumbing to the thickening rain clouds right as we finished our respective runs.  Perfect timing!  I was really excited to get onto some singletrack again.  I started out fast hiking, enjoying the breeze and sun on my legs and arms.  My Atayne shirt was very happy to see the light of day again and not be hidden under three layers of winter running clothes.  I was also testing out the newest addition to my running wardrobe, the REI OXT Fleet Skort.  My dividend was very happy to be spent on this running skirt...four thumbs up (Geof liked how it looked on me :))!  I think I'd like another one! 

After about an hour, I decided I was warmed up enough and the back of my knee was responding well, so I picked up the pace a bit and pulled off what felt like a run.  Whoa, mama, that felt good!  As long as I maintained a shorter stride, midfoot strike under my hips, and lifted the knees just a tad (very similar to a POSE style of running from what I understand) all felt amazing.  As soon as I lengthened my stride to match my old ways, adding in a heel strike, my knee got cranky.  Hmmm, guess I'll stick to my new stride as long as it continues to work so well.  Of course, I was mixing in near-equal parts walking and running...can't get ahead of myself just yet.  I could tell that all my hip and core strengthening was finally coming into play; it certainly makes a difference!

Geof was running around on other trails as well to make sure he could get in all his miles, and he turned around to meet up with me on the yellow loop.  We hiked for a short bit, then I decided it was time to run.  It was so great to finally run together again...it's been a few weeks and long overdue.  After he showed me where the yellow loop zig zags kinda funky, he went to do another shorter loop up a ways and said he'd meet up with me on the black trail.  I decided to hike the 1.4 mile black loop and take in the views.  After a bit, I came upon a little mini-ravine, if you could call it that.  I stopped to listen as I thought I had heard a loud cracking sound, and just then I hear Geof shout and I look to my right...a gigantic mutha of a tree fell over across from us, not 30 feet away!  Holy moly, how often do you see that kind of thing?!  It was one of those super tall and fat trees, not some wispy little sappling.  And it was down for the count.  So cool!  We both stood there in awe for a minute.  After that, Geof continued on for another loop of the black trail and I headed back towards the parking lot, finishing up just about 10 miles for me.  Bam!

Geof...he blends in with the trail with his green shirt and dark shorts :)

Reminding my legs what it feels like to run, and my skin what vitamin D and sunshine feels like

A successful holiday run and a great way to close out an awesome weekend.  I was happy enough with my run on Sunday that I decided to go out for a short run/walk this morning before work.  Just under 4 miles and just as happy with the results.  Here's hoping I can continue to get out there.  Tomorrow, I'm thinking it will be a pool running day :)
Crash, out.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

"Hey Utah, Gimme Two!"

(FYI, that quote is from Point Break, in case you were wondering.)

On the saddle of Grandeur Peak: Me, Geof, Rina, Rob and Lucy doin' it SLC Jumper-style

I love being outside, and I love seeing and doing new things.  Since I've voluntarily put myself on the proverbial bench for the last couple of weeks, and holed up in the gym/swimming pool as a back-up, it was unbelieveably awesome to head out west with Geof to spend a week with his Salt Lake City crew and get some much-needed outside time.  Yes, this is non-running material, but I had such a blast that I wanted to share it with you all :)  Rob, Rina and Lucy were our gracious hosts for the week and showed us a good ol' time in Utah.  Skiing at Alta in 20 degree whiteout conditions on the first full day, skiing in Park City in absolutely clear and gorgeous 50 degree prime spring skiing conditions the next day, a 3-hour snowshoe up to and over Doughnut Falls in the Wasatch Mountains, then up the Cardiff Trail and across an avalanche field...for posterity...on day three with Geof, Ben and Terry, and then a 3-hour brisk hike up Grandeur Peak in the Wasatch National Forest the next day.  Talk about some amazing workouts and fantastic cross-training for these humble legs!  I've never felt so good. 

It was great to get that boost of confidence I was hoping for by handling the altitude well.  We got up to 10,500 at Alta, and spent a great deal of the time over 7,000.  Which is very cool.  It'll be my secret weapon at Leadville :)  It was also great to finally spend some quality time with R & R, and to meet the rest of the SLC crew.  Being surrounded by doctors also gave a sense of comfort knowing we were in good hands the whole time :)  As I'm not much of a skiier I was worried about taking some nasty tumbles, but, thanks to the supreme patience of the crew, I managed to have a really amazing time...including the couple times I took off my skis and scooted down a steep run I didn't feel comfortable skiing down :-)  No, I'm not kidding.  No shame.  (P.S. I'm terrified of steep pitches and going too fast...I've never been drawn to that, but I really enjoy skiing on the flat stuff!)

Terry, Geof and Ben, hiking up the road to the Cardiff Pass trailhead

This was my first time snowshoeing and I was pumped when Ben suggested we do it.  Rob outfitted Geof and I with proper avalanche safety equipment (including shovels and the beeper thingy you're supposed to wear in case you get stuck in an avalanche, which I am modeling below...):

It's kinda scary knowing that's a possibility, but I think that may have added to the fun a little :)  We climbed up a frozen and snow-covered Doughnut Falls, me sweating my ass off from my heart pounding through my chest as we ascended the nearly vertical pitch of the Falls.  Ben and Terry scrambled up like it was nothing and Geof hung behind me as I whimpered quietly, grabbing branches and trees for dear life, looking back at the gapping hole (that was deep enough we couldn't see the bottom of) just below us...that could have ended badly.  But, after that part, it was smooth sailing and we stuck to the snowmobile trails, which led us through a relatively fresh avalanche field.  After two hours, we were spent and turned around to head home.  What FUN!

The next day, R & R took us on a hike up Grandeur Peak.  It was overcast and a little cool, but still warm enough to leave the jackets in our packs most of the time.  It was a really pretty hike with tough footing in some places, and after some jumper photos at the top of the saddle, we headed back down and I could hardly resist the urge to pick up the pace and turn it into a run.  It felt so good!  Makes me wanna run the Wasatch 100 some day...

I love how much stuff there is to do out there, and that everyday can be something a little different.  It felt great to get some fresh, lower-oxygen-content, air to get the red blood cells working overtime and the heart pumping faster.  Make sure to check out Coffee Garden at 9th and 9th if you're ever in SLC...the best vanilla lattes.  And, if you're looking for something a little different and a lot healthy, stop by Oasis Cafe for some delicious eats.  We were there during Earth Hour and they turned out all the lights and lit the main dining area with candles.  Two thumbs up.

It's nice to return from a vacation not feeling lumpy.  I feel revitalized, and my legs feel really good...almost good enough to let them go for a run!

So does wearing my Atayne CHUG shirt at 10,500 the highest elevation for an Atayne shirt so far??  Hmmmm...

Crash, out.

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